Ricki Lake and Christian Evans: It's Time to Separate

TMZ has reported that Ricki Lake's marriage to Christian Evans is ending after just two and a half years. According to TMZ, Ricki filed court documents on October 16, 2014, "citing irreconcilable differences, and says they legally separated on October 9". In fact, TMZ reported that Ricki is agreeing to pay Mr. Evans spousal support.

In Canada, the Divorce Act, 1985, introduced only one ground for divorce in Canada - "marriage breakdown". Further, marriage breakdown may be substantiated in two ways:

  1. the parties having lived separate and apart for one year; and
  2. the other spouse is guilty of adultery or cruelty.

In Ontario, "marriage breakdown" is most often substantiated by a period of separation for one year. If a party claims that their spouse is guilty of adultery or cruelty as the grounds for divorce, that party must provide sufficient evidence to satisfy the court of such. Since the courts are backlogged, a party may not be able to argue before a judge for more than a year. Thus, it becomes not only more cost-efficient for a party to make a claim for divorce on the grounds that they have lived separate and apart separated for one year or more, but the divorce will be granted more swiftly as well.

The only other means to end a marriage is to argue that the marriage itself was invalid. An order to annul the marriage can only be made where one or more of the requisite elements of a valid marriage are not present. In Ontario, for a marriage to be valid, the parties must have the capacity to marry and the formalities of marriage must also be present. The issue of annulment, however, is not at dispute between Ricki Lake and Christian Evans.

Thus, although it seems that Ricki Lake wants out of her marriage at all costs, the courts would be unable to commence processing a divorce until the parties have lived separate and apart for one year. This means that Ricki Lake's divorce may only become finalized shortly after October 9, 2015, as she is claiming that her and Christian Evans legally separated on October 9, 2014.

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